Using CAD and BIM files in Manufacturing Content Marketing


CAD and BIM files are not the first things that come to mind when talking about building content marketing. However, they are the two most valuable and effective material assets to use for components and parts manufacturers.

Why do I say that? Since 82% of CAD/BIM downloads turn into actual sales. They are so effective that I like to refer to them as “sales promoters”.

I didn’t get that figure out of the air. This is what the study shows, 6 Digital Essentials for Selling and Marketing to Engineers and Architects Published by Cadenus PartSolutions. I understand if you are somewhat skeptical about that figure when looking at the source (they provide eCATALOG solution and part solution). I have read similar statistics on CAD and BIM downloads from various other sources as well. The sample size is statistically significant for this study; 128,000 engineers and architects from over 500 companies around the world were surveyed.

Downloaded CAD and BIM files lead to actual sales

CAD and BIM files are invaluable for manufacturers in lead generation

Manufacturers are reluctant to just give away these valuable files, many of them may be proprietary. At a minimum, they want this content to be placed on the back of a simple registration form.

Engineers are willing to provide their basic contact information in exchange for what they see as a “value exchange”. According to 2021 State of Marketing to Engineers Report Published by IEEE GlobalSpec, engineers are prepared to complete a form that asks for their work email, first name, last name, company name, job title, and industry access to what they consider valuable material. Which will help them in their daily work.

Engineers willing to fill the form for CAD and BIM download

Multiplier effect of CAD and BIM downloads

An 82% conversion rate would be great by any measure, especially when it can be directly attributed to building content marketing. This is not an easy task when the sales cycle is long and requires multiple touches with different stakeholders. I have written about the problem of misattribution in industrial marketing. See also my article, Content Marketing for Creators: Are You Using Its Full Power?

The same study from CADENASPART Solutions found that a On average, 20.9 components are purchased for each online CAD/BIM download. He’s huge!

Multiplier effect of CAD and BIM downloads

Keep in mind that this is only an average. A design engineer who specifies electronic components can result in thousands being purchased when it is an order for a production quantity. Whereas it may be just one or two if it is something like a motor or a pump for a skid system. Market directly to the decision maker with CAD and BIM

Direct market to decision makers with CAD and BIM

If you have applied the traditional BANT (Budget, Authorization, Requirements and Timeline) criteria, Design Engineers will not be qualified because they have no procurement authorization. However, unless it specifies your component, the purchasing department cannot issue a PO or email you for a quote. This is something unique in manufacturing marketing where you are dealing with a specifier (engineer) and a functional buyer (purchasing department).

Understanding this concept is very important for your building materials marketing to be successful. I consider it so important that I made it an important point in my presentation Industrial Marketing Summit in the 2019 Content Marketing World.

Conversely, a manufacturer may choose not to offer downloadable CAD and BIM files. What could be worse than that?

Well, I’ll let the numbers speak for themselves.

“If native CAD/BIM data is not available online, 72% will choose another supplier”

Manufacturers face problems without online CAD and BIM files

Partner with an established provider of digital solutions for marketing engineers

I have seen manufacturers build online libraries of CAD files by publishing PDFs on their websites. It may have been good enough years ago, but not now.

Engineers want much more than this. Here are the key benefits that you can provide them with a robust and secure digital solution.

  • 3D model for preview
  • real-time product configurator
  • Downloadable CAD files that they can plug directly into their designs
  • Consistency and accuracy throughout the design process
  • Save time for engineers who are already struggling with short to market time constraints asked to do more for less
  • Save them time by doing repetitive tasks they hate doing anyway

Traditional 3D models and STEP are no longer sufficient for the exchange of data between CAD systems. Instead of using dozens of words trying to explain it, I quote directly from CADENAS PARTsolutions, “To add value to the engineering digital transformation process, digital components must contain detailed data that goes beyond pure geometry. This data includes information on kinematics, direction of motion, degrees of freedom, acceleration, deceleration, nozzles, connections, center of mass.” And many more are included.”

pay attention: I am not affiliated with CADENAS PARTsolutions or any other solution provider. Nor am I trying to promote any company. I am a firm believer in the benefits of using CAD and BIM downloads in building content marketing just because I have seen it work for the first time with my clients.

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